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FRIDAY, JULY 6, 2007

Majority Hispanic school likely
Collinsville High could be first in Alabama in fall

COLLINSVILLE (AP) — Collinsville High School could make state history this fall by becoming the first school in Alabama to have a Hispanic majority, school officials said.

Classes resume Aug. 9 at the K-12 school where Hispanics have been the largest group of students for several years.

Kathy Roebuck, administrative assistant to DeKalb County School Superintendent Charles Warren, said Hispanics are making up the overwhelming number of early enrollments for the coming year's kindergarten classes.

More will register before the start of the school year and those incoming numbers, along with the departure of white graduates, should push Collinsville's Hispanic percentage well past 50 percent.

"As the years progress, you're going to see it go from mostly white to almost all Hispanic because the numbers are coming in from the lower grades," Roebuck said. "You're seeing the number of Hispanics going up, up, up and the number of whites going down, down, down."

Collinsville is in southern DeKalb County and has had a substantial Hispanic presence for some time.

Drawn by job opportunities at a local nursing home and at Cagle's poultry processing plant, Hispanics make up nearly a quarter of the town's more than 1,600 residents, and Hispanic businesses are fixtures on Main Street.

Fewer than 10 Hispanic students were at the school 17 years ago, but "they're just like the normal population now," school principal Donny Jones told The Birmingham News. "With our diverse population, a child's just a child to us. We just work with all of them."

Collinsville High had a graduating class of 41 in May, and about a fourth of the diploma recipients were Hispanic.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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